Cat Launches New Programs to Build Safety Culture in Organizations

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Components Resilient Safety Culture Final

Caterpillar Safety Services recently launched two updates to its programs intended to build company safety cultures

The new programs, which include an updated safety perception survey and a program focused on human and organizational performance, incorporate the latest research and approaches to address safety within organizations.

Safety perception survey 

The safety perception survey analyzes an organization's safety culture. The new version includes updated language and discussion of more modern concepts of safety culture excellence, adding questions related to psychological safety and human and organizational performance.

Survey reports are more streamlined with more modern visualization of the data. Five safety activities including hazard identification, event learning, inspections, near misses, and safety meetings are measured. 

In addition, the report addresses 11 cultural indicators, including caring climate, employee involvement, feedback, management credibility, training effectiveness, and risk reduction. Further, the indicators also show how safety is perceived differently among employees, supervisors, and management.

Human and organizational performance 

The other new concept Caterpillar Safety Services is presenting is the human and organizational performance program. It is a framework concept for talking about safety and creating a resilient safety culture that allows organizations to build more error-tolerant systems by teaching leaders that expecting perfection from workers, processes, or procedures is not realistic. 

Traditionally, management of safety systems centers around policies, standard work, and processes that assume work happens in a straight line. Management sets the expectations, tells workers what to do and the workers do it the same way, every day. 

According to Caterpillar, those methods do not account for organizational factors that can disrupt the system, such as employees not having the right tools for the job and adapting or making tradeoffs because they are still required to meet production targets. 

Similarly, individual factors that could impact a worker’s awareness or lapses of attention due to events in their personal lives are also avoided.

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Under the traditional model, any deviation from the safety plan will be scrutinized and punished to improve safety. Caterpillar’s concept suggests this approach can have the opposite effect and lead to a weaker safety culture.

Through the Caterpillar Safety Services approach, leaders provide an environment where employees feel empowered to speak up to share their ideas, struggles, and mistakes. With that mindset, the organization learns to improve safety measures continuously.

Also, by gaining recognition for their contributions, workers have more desire to be involved, resulting in a more proactive safety culture that also leads to increased morale, retention, efficiency, and ultimately profitability.

Now in its 50th year of operation, the purpose of the Caterpillar Safety Services program is designed to assist companies in improving the four components of a resilient safety culture. According to Caterpillar, these are:

System – clearly defined safety expectations embedded in policies and procedures to identify and mitigate risk.

Mindset – a shared mindset that safety is everyone's responsibility, people make mistakes, and an environment of openness that makes people feel safe to speak up.

Leadership – specific, consistent leadership behaviors at all levels of the organization that positively influence people toward safe work. 

Ownership – occurs when all levels fully engage in the creation and continuous improvement of the safety system. 

Not wanting safety to be simply another checked box on how to operate a construction company, Caterpillar Safety Services assists organizations with the implementation of human and organizational performance principles through its mix of workshops, assessments, and individual face-to-face programming.

Safety Perception Gaps Infographic Final